Cult Personalities

Posted on April 25th, 2012 by Tiffany Categories Branding

Sometimes it’s good to be different. No, scratch that. It’s always good to be a little different, a little edgy, a little bit kooky and a lot bit silly. After all, it wasn’t the straight-line thinkers who developed the best fan following. Harley-Davidson is a shining example. So are brands like Apple, Jones Cream Soda and Krispy Kreme donuts. They may be mainstream now, but takes a certain chutzpah to develop the fan following that these brands have.
 
 
In the lives of all cult classics, however, comes a tipping point when the core group of followers must be abandoned for higher profit margins. It’s when they risk losing their edginess to go mainstream because early adopters have paved the way for widespread acceptance.
 
Perhaps we can’t recreate the precise magic – or the endless lines of customers who camped out in front of their stores and wrapped around blocks – that these brands came with, but we decided to delve a little deeper into their workings and see what made them tick.
 
The lessons we learned? 
 
1. Quality is Everything What would Apple be without stellar design or products that worked on a sub-par level? Possibly not the cult classic many people have grown to know and love. 
 
 
2. Keep it Simple, Son Imagine, if you will, the simplest of life’s pleasures – a light and puffy donut fresh out of the fryer, drizzled with the simplest syrup and served to you while it’s still warm. 
 
Do you know why, when Krispy Kreme announces the opening of a new location, lines of customers wrap around a few blocks?
 
That’s why.
 
3. Reach for the Early Adopters A true measure of success is when the brand’s name becomes a verb. The people who catapulted Google out of the stratosphere were the early adopters who preferred simple design over Yahoo’s “everything and the kitchen sink” home page. Here we are years later and we’ve swapped “look it up online” for “Google it.”
 
4. Don’t Mass Produce If you’ve ever had yourself a bottle of Jones Soda, you know you can’t find it on grocery store shelves everywhere. This Seattle-based company began catering, with limited production, to a very discerning audience in its early days and has tried very hard to keep itself from going mainstream. The result is legions of followers who swear by the drink and refuse to imbibe anything else.
 
And there you have it. Simple ingredients, high quality, niche audience and early adopters who think you’re too cool for school. It’s a winning recipe, really. What are your favorite cult classics?
 
 

Non-Traditional Marketing

Posted on April 18th, 2012 by Tiffany Categories Advertising

So, we’re all in a field where the jargon of the landscape is littered with phrases like “thinking outside the box” and “being different”. With marketers scurrying around trying to find faster, snazzier and more exciting ways to sell the latest gimmick, some of the best ways to connect with an audience get left by the wayside.  Lately though, we’ve been of the opinion that if people are brought together with a greater sense of affability, the profits follow along.
 
 
 
A Pen for Your Thoughts?
 
Of course that requires a little creative thinking on everyone’s part, and perhaps even a return to the basics. Really, when was the last time you wrote a letter or sent a card to thank your client or vendor base?
 
Effective non-traditional marketing can be as simple as picking up the phone to say hello and see if things are going well with your clients.  But since we’re extolling the virtues of creativity, perhaps we can move past a phone call or a hand-written card and throw a little character and personality into it.
 
Take, for instance, this photo-blog of very creative direct-mail pieces sent out by a number of vendors. We tried to pick a favorite but a quick gander at the post reveals how hard that really is!
 
 
Go Guerilla
 
Guerilla marketing can have a negative connotation attached to it for obvious reasons, but the concept is more about surprising people with a strong message in unexpected places than it is about attacking them with a product. Have you ever thought about orchestrating a flash mob? Flash mobs are nothing if not memorable, and if you’re looking to make an impact, they’re the place to begin.
 
Too risqué? Put your creative minds to work to come up with billboard ads, or better yet, make the medium the message.
And while you’re at it, let us know how far you’ve taken your non-traditional marketing strategies. We love a good conversation around these parts!
 

Posted on April 11th, 2012 by Tiffany Categories Campaigns

 Driving Audience Engagement

 

It sounds elusive at the offset, doesn’t it? Where do you go and how do you create or source the kind of content that might spark multiple love affairs with the market you’re in? Despite the staggering odds (we’re in the mood for a little drama today!), the forecast looks favorable. Because it’s clearly achievable, since brands out there who aren’t Lady Gaga have managed to swing it.

 

Beyond alluring and high-quality pictures lie a few principles that are a little more fundamental and time-tested, at least as far as communicating with your audience is concerned. Because, let’s not forget, a large part of the current audience demographic still lives away from social media or any other form of electronic engagement. Some people still prefer to communicate in an “old-fashioned” medium and we need to bring them into the conversation as well. 

 
How though? Glad you asked.

 

1. Engage the Senses. All of them. When you’re trying to grab attention sans the hard sell, use your message to engage all the senses with your viewers and target audience. The objective is to provide them with an immersive experience that’s hopefully memorable. The conversation should follow along organically.

 

 

 

 

2. Make Participation an Option, but do this encouragingly. With a myriad of technologies with usability ease at our fingertips, building a virtual community is now much easier. Bear in mind that these tools can be used to augment the impact of a physical experience as well. Between webinars, videos, texting and surveys, as long as you give people the ability to opt in or out, you could be seeing some terrific numbers with audience engagement.

 

 
3. Test the Content on yourself and your coworkers/employees. If the creators of the message aren’t able to engage or critically analyze the message being disseminated, what are the chances of the audience being able to stay engaged with it? Most adults have a 20-minute attention span, beyond which focus and retention begin to dwindle. If your message extends far beyond the 20-minute window, start looking for ways to keep people around through questions, content variety and ice-breakers (conference settings).

 

 

Meetup Marketing

Posted on April 4th, 2012 by Tiffany Categories communication

Meetups – groups of people brought together by common interest through an online and social portal – have become a great way to network with the local shared-interest community and a cost-effective way to find a niche market. Granted it requires a little effort to lift-off, but then what doesn’t if it’s worthwile.
 
 
The best part of organizing a Meetup group is the minimal cost of customer acquisition. Although signing up at Meetup.com is a free process, you always have the option of charging for your events, which is what many people choose to do. 
 
While the initial time commitment is high, the pay-off seems to be worth the effort required. But isn’t that the case with any networking platform? It may serve you well to begin with a little groundwork to see whether what you’d like to offer through your Meetup group already exists. If it does, then think and search a little harder to see how you can offer something more unique. If your niche group hasn’t coagulated yet, then you’re good to go!
 
 
Things to Keep In Mind
 
1. Look for quiet spaces that can comfortably accommodate the size of the group you’re hosting. Bars and restaurants can be tempting venues, but if the objective of your networking session is to share information and gain contacts, you’re more liable to have a higher success rate if people can hear each other talk.
 
2. As an alternative to a purely work-related event, consider organizing a Meetup session that’s in tandem with your own interests. Conversation flows freely when it’s centered on informal gatherings. Remember, providing an environment where people feel at ease is equally important.
 
3. Incentivize your gatherings. People love being able to grab a free deal, so if you’re organizing a series of Meetups that you charge for, consider a rewards program to sweeten the deal. 
 
4. Time Check Working people gathering after hours are tired people. Keep your Meetups limited to no more than 90 minutes, networking and speaking time included. 
 
5. Stay away from the hard-sell. This is a time for you to plug in the issue/topic at hand, not your business. Offer a service for nothing more than a networking opportunity and you’ll generate enough goodwill and leads that you can follow up with.
 

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